Here at the Old Sugar Mill, we enjoy working with all types of personalities and wedding styles. Not one bride or groom is the same and we celebrate that uniqueness. The process of planning a wedding should be enjoyable however stress and anxiety often show up uninvited. Or they always forget to RSVP…
We wanted to point out a few realities of wedding planning, as well as some recommendations based on experience! Some people are made for event planning, while the majority of us can feel overwhelmed or unsure where to even begin. The best thing to do is mentally prepare as much as possible. You want to enjoy this planning process! We hope that these tips help make wedding planning not so daunting.
You’re engaged! Now what?
- Enjoy this new chapter! Take pictures. Post pictures. Soak up every second.
- Make a budget with your fiance. Excel Spreadsheets are great for this.
- Put together a wedding Pinterest page so that you can see what themes and decor you are interested in.
- Look at the calendar and decide on a time of year that would work best for you/your families.
- Start researching Venues and Caterers. These are typically the 2 items you want to book first. Go on some tours! The more, the better. Even if you love the very first place, shop around some more.
- Create some sort of a plan to keep you both organized. You are about to collect a ton of information, sign contracts, and make decisions that are near impossible to keep track of just by memory. It can be a binder that you hand write in, or some sort of digital copy too. Choose what works best for you!
- Whenever you feel a wave of stress coming, just make a list to organize your thoughts. Then continue to deal with each thing one by one. Give yourself grace with this!
- Checklists are your best friend. Within each category of wedding planning, there are various small tasks to be done. Making check lists in advance can help you remember those details.
- A helpful planning tool is Google Docs. You create your wedding planning document, share it with others, and easily update it as you go. There is even a phone app where you can access it remotely and update it as you need to!
Should I have a Bridal Party?
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen are a tradition that some choose to follow. The decision to have them is entirely yours to make! Some things to keep in mind:
- Your friends and family do not become your personal assistants, just because they are in your bridal party. Remember that what is most important is to share these special moments and make memories together. Yes, it is your one and only special day. However it is always thoughtful to respect the different chapters of life that your friends are in too!
- Set realistic expectations with your Best Man and Maid of Honor. If you have high standards, be sure to communicate them. Do not assume that anyone can read your mind or is already on the same page as you.
- Your bridal party is an honorable position for whoever you ask. But that does not mean that anyone is entitled to the position. Do not feel pressured to have any person stand next to you unless you genuinely want them there, with no strings attached.
This is the fun part! So many options and companies to choose from. Try to enjoy this process and learning all about what different people have to offer.
- Standard vendors to be booked are a Venue, Caterer, Wedding Planner, Photographer, DJ, Florist, Videographer, Rental Company, Photo Booth, and dessert option. That exact order is a great way to go about researching and booking them.
- You will first want to look at venues and inquire with catering companies about date availability. These are typically the two largest financial items.
- Keep in mind that there is always the option to DIY. “Do it yourself” options can keep your wallet happy, however it can be much more work than anticipated. You will never regret hiring a professional so that there will be less things for you to do or worry about on your wedding day.
Do I need a Coordinator?
This depends on what is important to you. Only you and your partner can decide on the priority. Do you prefer to save the money and do more things on your own? Or do you not want to risk things going wrong or falling behind schedule. A wedding coordinator can be a godsend. A wedding is often a couple’s first experience with planning such an extravagant event, while coordinators have been at hundreds of them. That experience alone is so beneficial to you.
In addition to keeping your wedding day on schedule so that nothing gets forgotten from your timeline, your coordinator can help with so much more. Little issues can arise and are almost inevitable. You will be consumed with the excitement and nerves of the day. Let your coordinator problem solve for you and take care of any problems that come up. They will gladly be your voice and advocate for you all day long.
Friends & Family
This is where we recommend the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. They are correct when they say “boundaries keep the good in, and the bad out.”
Some people are gifted with these skills already. However a majority of us can have a difficult time navigating these conversations and situations. It is a special day for everyone! Some friends and family members unfortunately forget what the day is truly about and who it is most special for.
- Get on the same page — Have conversations with your fiancé ahead of time so that you understand and respect each other’s points of view.
- Beat them to it — Before anyone has the opportunity to say or do the wrong thing, have preventative conversations with your closest friends and family about what you and your partner’s preferences are. Make it clear to everyone what you are wanting and expecting.
- Have a united front — Things will of course come up and not everything will stay perfect the entire time you two are planning your big day. Make sure to stay true to yourselves and prioritize you and your fiancés wishes. Do not feel pressured to bend. Get in the habit of saying “I don’t know but I will talk to *partner* and let you know.”
- Be selfish — It is not a characteristic that most people strive for. However when it comes to your wedding day, you have permission to put yourself first. Just because someone may have louder or more emotional opinions on something, does not mean that it trumps how you feel about it. Stand up for yourself and enjoy people’s stunned reaction when you tell them “no”. You do not even need to explain yourself.
- Remind each other of what is important — If you see your person getting overwhelmed or stressed out, and you are in a place to support them, definitely give them that comfort. Reassure them that this stress is temporary and soon you will be enjoying a nice mai tai on your honeymoon!
It is sad but true that during these wedding planning months, you will see some true colors from people. If you mentally prepare ahead of time and mange your expectations for others, you will enjoy the process so much more. – This is not designed to scare you! You may never have to deal with any drama or unwanted situations. Some of us are simply anticipating the need for these boundaries.
Those Final Weeks
You’ve made it to wedding month! All your hard work is about to pay off. Take this time to follow up on anything that you need to do to make you feel at ease. Go back and look at all your check lists. Schedule as many phone calls with your vendors that you want to.
Here are some tips for things to remember:
- Put all of your special items into a box that is ready and waiting for your photographer. This includes your shoes, veil, jewelry, an invitation, garter, etc.
- If you wish to tips your vendors, make envelopes and thank you cards ahead of time so they can easily be handed out day-of.
- Organize your decor items meticulously. Make clearly labeled boxes that say Ceremony, Cocktail hour, and Reception.
- Whether you hired a coordinator or are having your aunt set everything up, take mock photos of certain set-ups so that it is one less thing that requires creative time to put together.
- Utilize your bridal party. Put someone in charge of making sure your wedding license gets signed right after the ceremony. Have one of your bridesmaids go to the reception space and put a bag under our table with your comfy shoes, lip gloss, and anything else you might want later.
We hope that you have taken away at least one helpful, new tool! At the end of the day all that matters is your marriage and the special moments you two will have. Good perspective and positive attitudes will take you far.